Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Deadly Agents

Those of us who'd taken an interest in the fate of the Tripoli Six were pleased by their release last week. But as Harriet A. Washington reminds us, their liberation may intensify the problems that led to their imprisonment.

[T]o many Africans, the accusations, which have been validated by a guilty verdict and a promise to reimburse the families of the infected children with a $426 million payout, seem perfectly plausible. The medical workers’ release appears to be the latest episode in a health care nightmare in which white and Western-trained doctors and nurses have harmed Africans — and have gone unpunished.
As I said in an earlier post:
It's easy to feel impatient with these people, whose fanaticism blinds them to the fact that while we might bomb Muslims indiscriminately, or imprison and torture them indefinitely, or dump toxic waste along their shorelines, we are not going to shoot their children up with pathogen-laced vaccines.
People who speak about "completing the project of the Enlightenment" usually aren't talking about performing medical experiments on the poor and powerless. Regardless, this sort of research comes a bit closer to certain cultures' understanding of "Science" than the relentlessly cheerful abstractions of, say, Richard Dawkins.
Africa has harbored a number of high-profile Western medical miscreants who have intentionally administered deadly agents under the guise of providing health care or conducting research....

These medical killers are well known throughout Africa, but the most notorious is Wouter Basson, a former head of Project Coast, South Africa’s chemical and biological weapons unit under apartheid. Dr. Basson was charged with killing hundreds of blacks in South Africa and Namibia, from 1979 to 1987, many via injected poisons. He was never convicted in South African courts, even though his lieutenants testified in detail and with consistency about the medical crimes they conducted against blacks.
These are exceptions, of course, and Ms Washington is careful to acknowledge that fact. But as Adorno pointed, it's perfectly normal to "neutralize the key phenomena of social injustice as mere exceptions."

Meanwhile, via Adventus:
[L]ast fall, a psychologist named Jean Maria Arrigo came to see me with a disturbing claim about the American Psychological Association, her profession's 148,000-member trade group. Arrigo had sat on a specially convened A.P.A. task force that, in July 2005, had ruled that psychologists could assist in military interrogations, despite angry objections from many in the profession. The task force also determined that, in cases where international human-rights law conflicts with U.S. law, psychologists could defer to the much looser U.S. standards—what Arrigo called the "Rumsfeld definition" of humane treatment.


MikeJ said...

Interesting that you bring up the APA. When I read it, I immediately thought of an article in yesterday's Times, about the death penalty in Missouri.

It seems that a doctor who was working for the state to help kill people gave doses of sedative that were too small. He testified anonymously that he's dyslexic, and therefore couldn't help giving the wrong dose. A St. Louis newspaper discovered the doctor's name, and the fact that he's been in trouble often for giving poor treatment.

Missouri solved the problem by making it illegal to disclose the name of anybody working on an execution, and illegal for the medical board to pull someone's license for failing the "first do no harm" bit of the oath.

Seems you don't have to go to Africa to find doctors killing patients. Just go to Missouri.

Phila said...

Seems you don't have to go to Africa to find doctors killing patients. Just go to Missouri.

Or Cincinnati...

Anonymous said...

warhammer gold warhammer money warhammer accounts tibia money tibia gold tibia item runescape accounts buy runescape accounts runescape money runescape gold runescape gp runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling cheap rs2 powerleveling runescape equipment buy rs equipment runescape runes cheap rs2 runes runescape logs cheap rs2 logs runescape items buy runescape items runescape quest point rs2 quest point cheap runescape questpoint runescape gold runescape items runescape power leveling runescape money runescape gold buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape items runescape accounts runescape gp runescape accounts runescape money runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling tibia gold dofus kamas buy dofus kamas wow power leveling wow powerleveling runescape questpoint rs2 questpoint Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling World of Warcraft Power Leveling Hellgate money Hellgate gold buy runescape logs buy rs2 items cheap runescape items Hellgate London gold Guild Wars Gold buy Guild Wars Gold runescape items rs2 accounts cheap rs2 equipments lotro gold buy lotro gold buy runescape money buy runescape gold buy runescape runes lotro gold buy lotro gold runescape money runescape gold cheap rs2 powerleveling eve isk eve online isk buy runescape power leveling rs2 power leveling tibia gold tibia item runescape accounts Fiesta Silver Fiesta Gold Scions of Fate Gold Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London Palladium SOF Gold Age Of Conan Gold AOC Gold ArchLord gold tibia money tibia gold runescape accounts runescape gold cheap rs2 powerleveling buy ArchLord gold DDO Plat Dungeons and Dragons Online Plat